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Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning

4.23  ·  Rating details ·  9,750 ratings  ·  1,074 reviews
To most of us, learning something "the hard way" implies wasted time and effort. Good teaching, we believe, should be creatively tailored to the different learning styles of students and should use strategies that make learning easier. Make It Stick turns fashionable ideas like these on their head. Drawing on recent discoveries in cognitive psychology and other disciplines ...more
Hardcover, 253 pages
Published April 14th 2014 by Belknap Press
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Bryan Tanner You won't learn faster, but you will learn better. The learning advocated in this book (created through effortful repetition) may seem harder, and lik…moreYou won't learn faster, but you will learn better. The learning advocated in this book (created through effortful repetition) may seem harder, and like your learning less, but in fact, you'll learn more and retain it for longer.(less)
Oscar Romero Interesting question--but I sure have an easy answer for you-YES! Read it and provide your 2 cents right after....I honestly don't see any negatives i…moreInteresting question--but I sure have an easy answer for you-YES! Read it and provide your 2 cents right after....I honestly don't see any negatives in this book--it is an amazing book we all should read and practice.(less)

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Jul 21, 2014 rated it it was ok
If only I had known... So I'll let you in on the secret. EVERYTHING you need to know is contained in Chapter 8. The final chapter of the book, naturally. So skip to page 200 and save yourself a LOT of time wandering aimlessy through the groves of academe. Not that there isn't viable information in the preceding seven chapters, mind you, but it's a long slog of background before getting to the good stuff.

I suppose they had to do something to make it more than a pamphlet.

Trust me. Read Chapter 8
Amir Tesla
Sep 16, 2017 rated it really liked it
Learning faster, and remembering more, is a lofty goal endeared by any ambitious individual. Unfortunately, our default way of learning is terribly ineffective.

Refer to Full summary of make it stick: science of successfull learning

Also how I use the techniques of this book to read faster and remember more

Perhaps this has happened to you as well, asking a person’s name just to forget it a minute later. What’s worse is that we think to ourselves, gosh, I have a very bad memory. Just if I was a
May 12, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A very convincing and readable book about how to better learn and, as an extension, how to better teach. Two psychologists and (thankfully) one writer present the latest research on learning and, in so doing, refutes some of our most popular learning techniques (such as 'practice, practice, practice' and my favorite 'read and reread'). At the end of the book, the following eight concrete techniques are offered:
1. Retrieving - practice retrieving new (and old) learning (self-quizzing).
2. Spacing
Morgan Blackledge
Jan 09, 2015 rated it really liked it
What's the first thing you (and everyone else) does when you're trying to learn a subject or text? Odds are good you read, highlight sections and then re-read the text. We all do that because it feels like we're learning.

If this is you, than according to researchers who split test different learning strategies and compare results, you're wasting your precious time and energy and there's a much more effective way to learn. It's more difficult, but it's way more effective and takes way less time.
John Martindale
I am an audiobooks junkie and often soon after I finish a book, I go to the computer to write a review, but my mind feels completely void—it seems like I completely forget all I just heard, even the fascinating tidbits. All I feel left with is an impression concerning whether I liked the book or not. Since there is this mental blockage, most of the time I just don't write much of a review and consider those things I wanted to share, lost. Most of my life it has seemed the majority of what was im ...more
Elizabeth Theiss
Jun 12, 2014 rated it really liked it
From the perspective of a professor with a good 20 years of experience, this book is a gem. The authors use research to demonstrate how students learn best and how teachers can structure courses to facilitate student learning. While I've read many books on teaching, few are as helpful as this one.

For example, frequent recall of recent information cements learning. Teachers can help by providing frequent low stakes quizzes that require students to utilize Bloom's taxonomy. The authors provide bas
Jan 03, 2015 rated it liked it
370.1523 BRO
CD 370.1523 BRO

Similar book "How We Learn: The Surprising Truth About When, Where, and Why It Happens" which focus on history instead of giving practice tips

Ideas I learn most useful:
1. Learn more by testing than re-reading; re-reading create illusion of mastery.
2. Spacing and interleaving are more useful than sequential learning and mass practices.
3. Growth mindset is extremely important not only in learning, but in everything. Setback and mistakes are only ways to success. Do not a
Apr 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is my new favorite book on learning. The writing is approachable rather than academic, and the content is completely research-based. If you want to learn how to be a better learner, or to help others learn how to be better learners, this is a must-read. A cognitive psychologist friend introduced me to it by gleefully saying, "I have been replaced by a book." Indeed. This is the best book on the science of learning I have ever encountered. I would give it 6 stars if I could.
May 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This gibes with my experience as a teacher so I am inclined to believe it without having read any of the original research. The author refers to the science that backs up his points but mainly uses anecdotes. This is a readable and I think useful book about how to help people understand and retain information.
Marc Lais
Jan 01, 2015 rated it liked it
A very interesting subject that is covered thoroughly in this book. Unfortunately, I don't think the authors had enough novel ideas to fill 200 pages. This resulted initially in a lot of repeated information (sometimes almost verbatim), and later in the book losing focus and wandering all over the place. The two paragraph conclusion read like it had been written by a high schooler who suddenly realized she had met the word count requirement. Make it Stick would make an awesome TED Talk or a 3 pa ...more
Kiwi Begs2Differ  ✎
A really interesting book making the case for non-traditional and often counter-intuitive learning techniques such as continuous testing vs. repetition, spacing and interleaving tasks requiring different efforts rather than sequential practice (i.e. complete mastery before moving onto the next level). The book promotes the concept that easier is not better in learning (i.e. effortful recall produces long lasting results) and analyses the evidence for the scientifically unproven but heavily marke ...more
Nathan Moore
Oct 08, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Anyone who loves to learn, especially those who struggled in school.
I've read some great books on learning and skill development this year. I've been looking for a book on the subject of learning with a special emphasis on memory and long term retention and this book fit the bill. I read it after reading the Talent Code, which focuses on developing fine motor skills and I've also recently read Outliers which argues that mastery comes from long hours (about 10,000) of focused practice.

In Make it Stick, Brown and others argue that most of the study habits of Ameri
Dec 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: non-fiction, learning
This is a great book on how we learn and how we don’t learn. The three authors provide basic principles of learning with numerous examples. There are 8 chapters in this book which elaborate on these points.

1. Retrieving - practice retrieving what you have learnt.
2. Spacing - leave space between your practice sessions.
3. Interleaving - learn different things, don't get stuck on one topic.
4. Elaboration - find new meaning in what you have learnt.
5. Generation - try to solve a problem before checki
Jun 02, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A superbly wonderful guide if you want to learn better in a more efficient manner. Mainly, it talks about how you need to slow down and digest the information, think and comprehend the material every so often, but most importantly, you need to quiz yourself in order to better remember the subject matter. Memory retrieval and interleaved learning is what will make you succeed, among other techniques.

For example, a typical student would read the required text and pen highlight the important ideas.
Alex Linschoten
May 29, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In 'Make it Stick', the authors explain how to study, how to learn things for long-term retention, and how to tweak the school experience to encourage retention. The authors strive to make examples practical and applicable. Spaced-repetition software is never mentioned in the book -- in fact technology really isn't the focus -- but it's possible to read it as a love letter to Anki. (This would have been five stars but for it being slightly too long.)

Some key things I learnt:

- testing recall help
May 06, 2020 rated it really liked it
This book was fairly easy to read, and seemed to be organized in a way that followed its teachings (i.e. it would refer back to earlier chapters frequently, mimicking spaced repetition).

It could be that I had too much prior knowledge coming into this book, but I didn't feel like I learned very many new things, and some explanations could have been shortened to make the book more concise.

Overall though, this book has some really useful information and is worth diving into as a general overview of
Aug 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This is an absolutely fantastic and essential book, and I would recommend it to anyone who considers themselves to be a lifelong learner or wants to become one. Like the title indicates, this is a book about the science of how we learn, what are the best strategies to learn effectively and what methods can we use to improve cognition/intelligence. In addition to that, this book provides up-to-date research on similar and related topics in cognitive psychology and neuroscience, specifically, mind ...more
Jurgen Appelo
Jul 26, 2020 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: learning
Required reading for every student/learner and every teacher/trainer.
Feb 07, 2018 rated it it was amazing

Retrieval practice—recalling facts or concepts or events from memory—is a more effective learning strategy than review by rereading. Flashcards are a simple example. Retrieval strengthens the memory and interrupts forgetting. A single, simple quiz after reading a text or hearing a lecture produces better learning and remembering than rereading the text or reviewing lecture notes. While the brain is not a muscle that gets stronger with exercise, the neural pathways that make up a body of
Apr 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Of the books I've read about learning, this is my favorite. This review comes right on the back of reading and reviewing How We Learn by Benedict Carey which was published in the same year! I got a lot out of that book, but thought it had some flaws. This book covers more variety and still manages to avoid the criticisms I had with Carey's book.

I feel like I've already written extensively about many of the main concepts in previous book reviews. This book covered a ton of additional material. He
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The most essential book for all students to read in order to improve their studying!

This book is based on cognitive psychology. Study techniques and their effects on our cognition are described in detail while several studies proof the increased performance of students. I particularly like how the author considered the experience of students when applying those concept as well, helping to understand that studying is widely misunderstood and our own intuition most often misleading.

This research e

The first part is a gold mine of cognitive psychology wisdom, then it sort of tapers off toward the end (at least for me). The book covers what science has to tell us about learning in general and it is good. And it is owing to this book that I'm resuming my old practice of writing book reviews (retrieval & elaboration) to better retain what I read.

Some concepts that will prove particularly useful in my own learning and teaching include:

1) Desirable difficulty: how the right amount of diff
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is an excellent book for everyone- not just teachers and educators. This book challenges our perceptions of how to learn and how it is often counterintuitive to how we think we best learn.

I found this book frustrating at times as it jumped between ideas- however, that in itself is one way this book practices what it preaches. I found myself inspired to approach learning and teaching differently. I was often lost in my own ideas of how I can apply what I’ve learned from this book to my own
Dan Graser
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Having recently read James Lang's book, "Small Teaching," I noticed that a lot of its most salient concepts and interesting ideas were being cited back to this wonderful book from Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel. As such I was curious if it seemed as significant and intellectually rigorous as Lang's citations made it seem. I must say that it certainly is and is among the most potent books on learning I have ever read.

Perhaps the most singular feature of this work is the seamless way the authors t
Aug 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: education
Fabulous book. The research that has gone into bringing out the principles and truths found in this book is commendable and gives much weight to their arguments. What they propose flies in the face of much of what goes around in public education today (student-centered learning). What they say helps make knowledge stick isn't a special recipe we haven't seen before. It's just unfortunate that we desperately need to hear it since the borage of unsupported messages from others has led many to drif ...more
Emil O. W. Kirkegaard
Feb 25, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: psych, education
It has some enjoyable parts, but it also has a lot of rubbish.

Somehow it got learning styles right (it's bullshit), but then follow up with a glorification of Robert Sternberg's triarchic intelligence model (fringe theory with no notable empirical support). And then mention a learning style of its own (“rule learner” or “example learner,”). Weird!

Also goes full into Ericsson style 10k hours of dedicated practice, repeating typical anti-genetics claims. No mention of g factor of course.

Read the r
May 31, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Being a student back in my days, we had no idea about how the learning works! Teachers were just dividing us into brilliant or stupid groups and no extra effort to help paediatrics with learning difficulties. Lots of concepts introduced by this book were new to me, but presenting anecdotes on successful applications were so intriguing and useful. Successful learning is a critical concept these days. It's not just for pupils, but companies or marketing people can benefit these ideas the same. Thi ...more
Jan 20, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: nonfiction, 2018
This could be a decent book in theory, but I have read a lot of material from other books on memory and brain (for example, "Learning how to learn" by Barbara Oakley and "Peak" by Anders Ericsson, "Brain rules" by John Medina.

However, I managed to find a couple of good nuggets of wisdom in this book:

1) More information on the memory palace technique
2) The fact that the more a person 'knows' the more neuron connections it has (aka 'hooks for new information'). So, it is quite literally the more y
Sal Coraccio
May 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: brain
Solid five stars - I'm adding it to my "must read" list. Everyone should get this book at an early age, and teachers should be issued the thing - now.

It reviews the folly, through scientific research, of standard study methods such as re-reading text, highlighting, all night cramming, PowerPoint presentations and most other class-room methods.

It shows how mastery comes from internalization and self-testing and interweaving multiple skills at once, rather than focus on a single example of the dis
Prashant Ghabak
Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing
After getting into habit or reading a lot, I realized that I forget a lot of the stuff I read especially the specifics. The same with a lot of lectures which I thought I loved. And, if you can't remember what you have learnt, how can you retrieve it and apply in real life?

I started reading this book along with a MOOC by Barbara Oakley on Coursera to discover more about this problem. And it seems, this is a very common problem faced by many.

What it also made me realize is how faulty the learning
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Bryn Mawr School ...: Make It Stick: The Science of Successful Learning 1 15 Jul 06, 2016 05:03PM  

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